You all may have noticed a red Humvee around town. It is the command/first response vehicle of the Fire Department, acquired from the Texas Surplus Commission. Originally drab army green, it was rejuvenated with a coat of paint and we look forward to it serving the community. Since the Fire Department area includes the County park, much farmland and brush, the Humvee will be invaluable in dealing with any brush fires.
You may have noticed we experienced a power failure around midnight last night, lasting about 3 hours. The culprit was a power pole fire at the Channel View RV park that started around 7:30 pm. Here’s how the incident unfolded: The Fire Department was dispatched by 911 at 7:50. The chief arrived a few minutes later, followed by the pump truck and firefighters at 8:00. Since the power was still on, the Fire Dept could not extinguish the fire immediately. Hosing water onto live power lines is a no-no. A Magic Valley Electric Co-op crew arrived around 8:45 and used fire extinguishers to put out the fire. The pole was severely damaged and the Co-op crew retired to a safe distance, waiting for backup to repair/replace the pole. With power still on, the fire re-ignited and continued burning the pole until it broke off. The broken portion was held aloft by a line feeding over to the RV park. There was no immediate danger of the fire spreading and the Co-op crew elected to leave power on to avoid a blackout in the area. By 11:45, the Co-op backup crew had still not arrived, the wind was picking up a little and the fire was starting to pose a threat from dropping embers. The Fire Department determined that the situation was too dangerous and instructed the Co-op crew to cut the power. The fire was well and truly extinguished by the pump truck crew. Fortunately, within minutes of putting out the fire, the Co-op construction crew arrived with a new pole, equipment and what looked to be at least 8 cherry pickers. They got to work and the power was restored after 3 or so hours. We don’t have any photos of the incident but here are a sampling of what pole fires look like and what ensuing damage can occur.
A telephone pole on fire, exterior.
Pole fires usually start by an arc tracking across an insulator to ground over the wooden pole. The arcing is not sufficient to trip the circuit, but is hot enough to set fire to the pole. Salt from the sea air and dirt settle on the insulators. After a long dry spell, this accumulation becomes heavy. When there is a short rain which is not hard or long enough to wash off the accumulation, the rain water dissolves the salt, mixes it with the dust and creates a path for the electricity to arc and track across the pole, igniting it in the process. This is fairly common close to the ocean, in fact Port Mansfield Fire Department inform us that 80% of their fire calls are for pole fires.
Thank you to the Arroyo City Fire Department for their prompt response and vigilance in protecting our community.
Yesterday Chief Jay and Asst Chief Chuck visited the Federal Surplus Depot in San Antonio to find a replacement for the old Deuce and a Half brush truck. They found a 2007 truck and trailer with only 68 miles on the clock. Needless to say they clinched the deal. Work will now start to transfer the tank, pump and hose from the old truck to the new. It is a simple exercise and is expected to be complete within two weeks. The old Deuce will be put out to pasture after a long and productive life.
It’s that time of year again. The Fire Department is having their annual Fish Fry Benefit to raise money. As you know, the county woefully under funds the Fire Department, so we have to step up to help them provide their essential service to the community. The event will be on February 24 – this is a heads up for you to mark your calendars and cancel other arrangements. See you there!
Here is a PDF version if you want to download the flyer and send it to your friends:
You may have noticed that reflective blue markers have been installed along FM 2925 and Marshall Hutts Rd.
These markers indicate the location of a functional fire hydrant or stand-pipe either in the TxDOT right of way or on private property. The Fire Department installed the markers in their ongoing effort to provide quality protection services to our community. In the event of a fire, the adequate identification of water sources for the pump and tank trucks allows the department to supply continuous water to their firefighting equipment. A big thank you to the volunteers at the department who give their time to serve our community.
Don’t forget, the Garage Sale is coming up on November 2, 3 and 4 and the Bake Sale with Open House is on November 18. Show your support at these events.
The Fire Department auxiliary committee has adopted a section of FM 2925 – from SeaWay Village westward for 2 miles. This morning at 0730, 11 volunteers turned out and did a sterling job until rain halted the work at around 0945. This was just as well – the heat, humidity, age and fatigue were taking toll. A huge thank you to the auxiliary, department members and others who came to perform a welcome community service.
A polite request to drivers and passengers along FM 2925: we live here and don’t like looking at (or picking up) your trash discarded on the side of the road. Please show some consideration and DO NOT LITTER.